NFL Power Rankings: Do Patriots fall in AFC after loss to Texans?
After the Ravens, it’s starting to get a little complicated. By record and reputation, the Patriots belong at No. 2.
The Texans are 8-4 — same as the Chiefs and one game behind the Bills and they just beat the Patriots and also beat KC. But they also got hammered 41-7 by Baltimore two weeks ago. Could put them ahead of KC but KC just blasted the formerly decent Ravens.
And can I just keep ignoring Buffalo is 9-3?
16. New York Jets (4-8)
Last week I wrote: “I’m still holding a grudge from their losing to Miami, Jacksonville and the Patriots in consecutive weeks. But they are 4-7. So they go up next week. Unless they lose to Cincy. Then I put them 16.” So I had to do it.
(Last three rankings: 15, 15, 15)
15. Cincinnati Bengals (1-11)
Never bet against the Red Rocket three days after Thanksgiving. Remember that. Never. Bengals are now 1-11. Why aren’t they still in the cellar? Well, it's because they beat the Jets.
(Last three rankings: 16, 16, 16)
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8)
They’ve lost their last four by a combined 82 points. The last time they had fortune smiling on them they won back-to-back against the only teams in the conference worse than them — the Jets and Bengals.
(Last three rankings: 13, 13, 13)
13. Miami Dolphins (3-9)
Huge win for the program over Philly on Sunday and have now gone 3-2 over their past five games. With the Jets, Giants and Bengals coming up next, the path is there for the Dolphins to get from 3-9 up to 6-9 before the finale at Foxboro.
(Last three rankings: 14, 14, 14)
12. Los Angeles Chargers (4-8)
They just keep finding ways to lose. Sunday it was at Denver. The two previous weeks it was against the Chiefs and Raiders. The Chargers' impressive win over the Packers was an apparition.
(Last three rankings: 8, 9, 10)
11. Denver Broncos (4-8)
Knocked off the Chargers behind Drew Lock making his first start then got two bomb field goals from Brandon McManus in the final five minutes to get to 4-8. I feel like they might be down in this part of the rankings for a while.
(Last three rankings: 11, 11, 12)
10. Cleveland Browns (5-7)
They won three straight before losing 20-13 to the Steelers on Sunday. The Browns blew a 10-0 lead and lost to an offensively challenged Steelers team.
(Last three rankings: 12, 12, 11)
9. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)
Lost for the fourth time in five games. They saw Tennessee roll off 24 unanswered points as Jacoby Brissett threw two big second-half picks. They just don’t have enough on offense right now with T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron down.
(Last three rankings: 7, 6, 7)
8. Oakland Raiders (6-6)
Back-to-back blowout losses to the Jets and Chiefs. Sitting at 6-6 after Jon Gruden had edged his way into my Coach of the Year thinking. They still have a shot with four winnable games hosting Tennessee and Jacksonville before closing at the Chargers and Broncos, but it looks like this swoon is going to be tough to steer out of.
(Last three rankings: 4, 4, 6)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
Currently sitting in the final Wild Card spot because they have a better conference record than the Titans, the Steelers have beaten teams who’ve combined to win just 27 games this year. They are not a threat in the overall picture but they are plucky.
(Last three rankings: 9, 8, 9)
6. Tennessee Titans (7-5)
Now they got themselves to 7-5 with the win over Indy. Very tough close to the season at Oakland, hosting the Texans and Saints then closing with the Texans. Hottest team in the AFC outside of Baltimore.
(Last three rankings: 10, 10, 8)
5. Buffalo Bills (9-3)
Very impressive win at Dallas. But their list of opponents the past six weeks hasn’t been great. Tough three-game stretch ahead with the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots. Josh Allen is proving me wrong by being consistently solid and not hurting a team built for cold-weather activity.
(Last three rankings: 8, 7, 4)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
With the win over Oakland they got to 8-4. Had to drop them behind Houston though because of the quality of the Texans win and the fact they lost to Houston in Week 6. They can make a huge impression Sunday at Foxboro.
(Last three rankings: 5, 3, 3)
3. Houston Texans (8-4)
Now at 8-4 with two games left against the surging Titans. A great offensive game plan by Houston was combined with a defense that dared the Patriots to try and beat them through the air. New England couldn’t do it.
(Last three rankings: 3, 3, 6)
2. New England Patriots (10-2)
The margin for error their defense has provided them all season was brought into full relief in Houston when they played an OK, not bad but kind of average game against Deshaun Watson and got no help at all from their offense.
(Last three rankings: 1, 2, 2)
1. Baltimore Ravens (10-2)
They’ve strung together an amazing eight-game stretch of football which has featured dismantlings of some of the league’s best teams — New England, Seattle, Houston and now the Niners. And this week Lamar Jackson and the Ravens can seek another pelt at the 9-3 Bills.
(Last three rankings: 2, 1, 1)